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160606 - Daniel Krolczyk v Hyundai Motor America

Daniel C. Krolczyk and Joni Krolczyk,

 

Dani Liblang

 

Plaintiffs-Appellants,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Oakland – Grant, N.)

 

Hyundai Motor America and Bill Marsh Hyundai, LLC,

 

Gregory LaVoy

 

Defendants-Appellees.

 

Summary

The plaintiffs experienced numerous problems with a car they purchased and sued the defendants in circuit court.  After a case evaluation award of $14,000, the parties stipulated that the damages were under the $25,000 jurisdictional limit of the district court.  The defendants drafted an order to transfer the case to the district court, and the circuit court entered the order.  After a 6-day trial that resulted in a judgment for the plaintiffs, the defendants argued that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because the ad damnum clause (the clause in the request for relief stating the amount of damages) in the plaintiffs’ complaint stated that the damages were over $25,000.  The plaintiffs moved to amend their complaint.  The district court granted the plaintiffs’ motion and entered a judgment against the defendants.  The circuit court affirmed the district court, but the Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, reversed on the basis of Hodge v State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co, 499 Mich 211 (2016), concluding that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because the plaintiffs’ complaint pled damages in excess of $25,000.  The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on the application to address:  (1) whether the district court properly exercised jurisdiction over this case notwithstanding that the circuit court’s November 18, 2015, transfer order lacked the defendant’s stipulation “to an appropriate amendment of the complaint,” Administrative Order No. 1998-1; (2) whether, assuming any error in the transfer was nonjurisdictional, the district court properly exercised jurisdiction over this case where, upon transfer, the complaint contained an ad damnum clause seeking more than the district court’s jurisdictional limit, see MCL 600.8301; and (3) whether, assuming the district court properly exercised jurisdiction upon transfer notwithstanding the complaint’s ad damnum clause, the district court nevertheless had the authority to permit amendment of the complaint.​